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MOM will take action against errant employers

  • The Straits Times (26 November 2016): Stem misuse of maids
  • The Straits Times Online (29 November 2016): Maids should be assigned only jobs they are employed for
  • The Straits Times Online (1 December 2016): More can be done to help new maids coming to Singapore

MOM will take action against errant employers

- The Straits Times, 5 December 2016

  1. The Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations state clearly the roles and responsibilities of the employer and the foreign domestic worker (FDW).  
  2. An employer has to ensure that the FDW performs only household and domestic duties, and is allowed to work for her employer only at the address stated on her work permit.
  3. These regulations are made known to both employers and FDWs in many of our communication materials and touch points.
  4. First-time employers and FDWs are informed of the consequences of illegal deployment, illegal employment and false declaration when they attend the mandatory Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) and the Settling-in-Programme.
  5. We constantly review our programme pedagogy and, this year, worked with the EOP training providers to incorporate content beyond legislative requirements to encourage FDW employers to adopt good employment practices.
  6. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will check on errant practices when we conduct selective interviews for first-time FDWs. Many of the collaterals and handbooks distributed to FDWs also include helplines and channels where they can report errant practices to MOM for further investigations.
  7. For employers who had engaged the services of an employment agency (EA), the employment agent will also highlight the legal responsibilities of the employer and other good practices.
  8. MOM also stipulates in the Employment Agencies Act that Singapore EAs are allowed to collect no more than one month of the worker's salary for each year of service, capped at two months' salary. Debts paid overseas and the regulation of EAs in foreign countries fall under the jurisdiction of the foreign government.
  9. Employers who fail to ensure that their FDWs are performing only domestic work at the registered work permit address may face a financial penalty of up to $10,000.
  10. Those who attempt to circumvent the work pass system and provide false information to apply for work permits for their FDWs can be fined up to $20,000, and/or face imprisonment not exceeding two years under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
  11. MOM takes a stern view of errant practices in the employment of FDWs. Members of the public who know of employers who contravene the EFMA should notify MOM on (65) 6438-5122 or e-mail All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Stem misuse of maids

- The Straits Times, 26 November 2016

  1. A foreign domestic worker is supposed to work in the household of the employer who secured her work permit.
  2. But in practice, many employers ask their maids to clean their offices or work in their business establishments, including at food stalls, in addition to household work.
  3. Some are also made to work as sales girls and cashiers in their employers' businesses.
  4. Some employers are not even aware that such practices are in violation of manpower regulations, and can attract heavy fines and jail terms.
  5. In some cases, the employer applies for the permit and the maid is allowed to do part-time cleaning work in multiple households and earn her salary.
  6. In extreme cases, the employer collects some money from the maid for offering this service, and the maid is also given the responsibility of arranging the levy payment.
  7. The Government should crack down on this and punish both parties.

Maids should be assigned only jobs they are employed for

- The Straits Times Online, 29 November 2016

  1. We agree that more needs to be done to protect the well-being of domestic helpers ("Stem misuse of maids"; Nov 26).
  2. We are just as concerned as Mr Nagesh that domestic helpers are still being subjected to abuse, even after several measures have been put in place to protect them.
  3. Perhaps there is a need to review the employers' orientation programme, especially for employers hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW) for the first time or who have changed workers frequently. For example, the expectations of such employers could be better managed.
  4. The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) provides a helpline and offers avenues for recourse or remedies.
  5. We offer free legal counselling and mediation services to help parties resolve disagreement amicably. Where breaches are evident, Fast is prepared to alert the authorities so that remedial action can be taken.
  6. Fast has also recently introduced a three-day orientation programme to show newly arrived foreign domestic helpers what working in Singapore is all about, including work expectations.
  7. We hope to promote this initiative to improve domestic workers' awareness about their work obligations and what they should and should not be involved in at their workplace.
  8. We call on all stakeholders, be they government departments, employment agencies, embassy personnel or employers, to ensure that newly employed domestic helpers are accorded proper treatment and care.
  9. They should be assigned only to jobs they are employed for and should not be subjected to abuse in any way.
  10. This will help a great deal to lighten the emotional stress that FDWs already face in trying to cope with their new working environment. Hopefully, this will enable them to do their job with greater confidence.

More can be done to help new maids coming to Singapore

-The Straits Times Online, 1 December 2016

  1. Misuse of maids in Singapore is not uncommon, as mentioned in the letter ("Stem misuse of maids"; Nov 26) .
  2. When new domestic helpers are hired, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and maid agencies should brief them on the dos and don'ts, and also on the helpline that is open to them.
  3. Maids are terrified of losing their jobs because of the money they would have borrowed to pay their agents back home.
  4. They should be assured that they would not get into trouble or be sent back home for reporting their employer for any abuse or wrongdoing.
  5. They should also be given a print-out of these rules.
  6. Holding an orientation programme is useful. This way, the maids can exchange telephone numbers and have someone they can turn to for help.
  7. Getting some older and more experienced maids to be their mentors would be very helpful.
  8. The MOM should also look into the ridiculously high agency fees that are charged. It is little wonder that so many agencies have sprung up in Singapore.
  9. Is it so easy to get a maid agency licence?